Turkish plane hijacked, most passengers free
August 18, 2007
Original Reuters article: Turkish plane hijacked, most passengers free
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ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish passenger plane heading for Istanbul from northern Cyprus was hijacked on Saturday and forced to land in Turkey where most of the 136 passengers were freed, the airline said.
Turkish media quoted the local governor as saying four passengers and two crew members remained on the hijacked plane.
Most passengers were freed after the plane was forced to land in Antalya on the south coast, as it did not have enough fuel to go to Iran as the hijackers wanted, Atlas Jet CEO Tuncay Doganer said.
"There are a small number of people remaining. I estimate that in short period this operation will be finished," Doganer told private broadcaster NTV, which reported that passengers had forced the doors open to escape from the two hijackers.
TV footage showed passengers running from the plane's side and back doors. NTV quoted one witness as saying the hijackers had said they were members of al Qaeda and another as saying they spoke Arabic and wanted to go to Syria.
The plane, which was flying from Ercan airport in Turkish-backed northern Cyprus to Istanbul when it was hijacked.
Cyprus, a major tourist destination, is divided between the internationally recognized government in the south and an enclave in the north recognized only by Ankara.
Plane hijacks and bomb threats are not uncommon in Turkey, where a number of radical groups ranging from Kurdish separatists to far-left militants operate. In the last year or so several incidents have been resolved without any passengers being harmed.http://www.topix.net/content/reuters/2007/...-free?fromrss=1